Go with the Pros: Resources and Advice for Seniors who Are Downsizing

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This article was written by our dear friend, Karen Weeks, of Elderwellness.net, exclusively for our West View Nursing and Rehabilitation readers and families! Thank you Karen!

Selling a home and getting ready to move is a daunting prospect for anyone. There are any number of home fixes and renovations to be made both inside and out. In order to establish a selling price, there’s some research of your housing market to be done. And, as any realtor will tell you, staging a home is crucial to attracting a buyer and getting your sale price. Once those hurdles have been cleared, it’s time to purge all the old, unnecessary items from your house, pack the accumulated belongings of several decades, and figure out how to handle (and pay for) your move.

For a senior, this can be a major physical and financial challenge. It can also be an overwhelming emotional obstacle for older adults who have deep emotional ties to their property, and a lifetime of memories. Selling a home can feel like you’re closing the door on the past, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A well-planned and organized move should mitigate the fear and emotional upset that makes parting with one’s home such a wrenching experience.

How well will it sell

To market and sell a home, it has to be in excellent condition. If you’ve lived there for a long time, you probably have some fixing and upgrading to do. Go through your house with a realtor and determine where you need to make significant improvements and what can be handled with a little paint and some cleaning. It’s very important to assess your home with an objective eye before determining its marketability and realistic worth. Bear in mind that this means reviewing everything. A prospective buyer won’t want to pay for a 1966 Frigidaire or risk investing in a home with a roof that’s 20 years old.

A reasonable price

Your real estate agent can help you settle on a selling price for your home. Often, people find an agent through word of mouth or by direct referral from a close friend or family member. Getting fair market value for your home is extremely important, and can affect your financial fortunes long after you’ve moved out. That’s why the agent you select should be very familiar with your market and how other homes in the area have been selling. Research the prices of homes in your neighborhood that have sold recently. Factor in any expenses incurred in preparing your home for sale and staging it for home buyers.

Cleaning and staging

Once you’ve figured out value and asking price, it’s time to dress up your home and make it attractive to home buyers. One of the most important steps you can take is to declutter. A disorderly house is a major turn-off for potential buyers, so make sure you go through each room carefully to determine what can be thrown out, donated and stored away for packing. Getting rid of objects you might have had all your life could be harder than you think. Consider hiring a senior move manager, a professional associated with the National Association of Senior Move Managers, who has the expertise and experience necessary to determine how best to declutter your home and stage it properly.

Go with the pros

Even if you’ve downsized your belongings substantially, you’ll need a reputable mover to do the heavy lifting. Moving companies can ease the burden of packing and moving your belongings, plus you will know your belongings are being handled safely by professionals. Leaving a home of many years is stressful enough as it is – let someone else handle this most physically demanding part of the move.

Help and advice

Once you’ve made the decision to downsize, look for help and advice from a realtor for arriving at a reasonable asking price. A senior moving advisor and reputable moving company can help determine what to take with you and get it all loaded and unloaded safely. Letting the pros do the hard work can alleviate the emotional stress of what will likely be a difficult experience.

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